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CNF 122 W — Creative Nonfiction: Finding the Universal in the Particular

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 21—Aug 27
Refund Deadline: Jun 24
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Rachel Howard
Limit: 20
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens May 17, 8:30 am (PT)
 
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Summer
Flex Online(About Formats)
Date(s)
Jun 21—Aug 27
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jun 24
3 Units
Fees
$910
Instructor(s):
Rachel Howard
Limit
20
Recording
Yes
Registration opens May 17, 8:30 am (PT)
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Memoir, essay, or first-person reportage—all creative nonfiction is rooted in a daily habit of noticing the “beloved particulars,” then digging inward to discover how those particulars can evoke what we might risk calling “the universal”—an archetypal experience that almost any reader can relate to. In this highly exploratory course, we will play with nonfiction forms ranging from the lyric to the narrative. Voice, point of view, structure, form—all of the essential, recurring terms of the writing life will be introduced as we discuss works by such writers as Richard Rodriguez, Grace Paley, Joan Didion, and Amy Tan. We will complete and post short weekly assignments for feedback, and each student will also draft and workshop a longer piece of writing. We will practice really seeing, being open and receptive (“sneaking under the fence of interpretation,” as Deborah Eisenberg called it), and dropping defenses, especially those we hide from ourselves, to find truths that can show us the transcendent in the particular. After all, as Flannery O’Connor wrote, “Wouldn’t it be better for you to discover a meaning in what you write than to impose one? Nothing you write will lack meaning because the meaning is in you.”

RACHEL HOWARD
Author

Rachel Howard is the author of a memoir about her father’s unsolved murder, The Lost Night, and a novel, The Risk of Us. Her personal essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times “Draft” series, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Gulf Coast, and O, The Oprah Magazine. She received an MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson College.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Alice LaPlante, The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing (ISBN 0393337081)
(Required) Judith Kitchen. Ed., Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction (ISBN 0393326004)